Veterans For Peace strongly condemns attacks on voting rights and supports pro-democracy efforts to ensure that all citizens of the United States can readily exercise their right to vote.
In the violent formation of this country, elites denied most people the right to vote. It took generations of activism in the face of violence and repression for many people – women, people of color – to achieve the same right to participate in democratic processes that their white male counterparts had been granted. Today, efforts to suppress the voting rights of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color are increasing in frequency and force.
We have seen, not only in the wake of the 2020 election cycle but in the decades leading up to that cycle, disturbing attempts to undermine our elections and make it more difficult for individuals across the country to vote, particularly in communities of color. America’s arcane voter registration systems hinder democratic participation and create barriers that exclude tens of millions of eligible citizens from the political process.
The intentional curtailment of voting rights by so many State legislatures is an affront to military veterans who risked their lives for missions purported to save or protect democracies abroad. Recruitment campaigns and war memorials often use the slogan "freedom isn't free," and yet the current effort to undermine voting rights in our own nation calls into question the very ideal of freedom, let alone the "liberty and justice for all" promised to school children every day in pledging allegiance to the U.S. flag.
A core piece of Veterans For Peace’s mission is Peace at Home, Peace Abroad. This highlights the connection between our domestic and foreign policy, and focuses on how war and militarism negatively impacts the nation. With the stakes being as high as they are, voter suppression already more rampant than ever, and white nationalists violently attempting to stop federal certification of elections, it is imperative that we work to remove all barriers to voting and preserve the rights of all American citizens to meaningfully participate and make their voices heard in our democracy. Otherwise, we cannot honestly claim to be a democracy.
In 2020 Veterans For Peace united with hundreds of other organizations to ensure free and fair elections and many members served as Election Defenders. However, we know that with the recent failure of the passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 (which incorporated the Native American Voting Rights Act [NAVRA]) we must continue to advocate for election and voting justice. We know that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”, and because the Voting Rights Act did not pass this year, we need a new voting rights bill in order to protect the essence of our democratic system – or we will lose it.
Veterans For Peace supports and stands in solidarity with the many frontline communities pushing for a more participatory democracy and ensuring ready access to voting for all peoples.
See below for resources to learn more.
- Includes: Right to Vote One Pager and End Money in Politics One Pager
- Center For Popular Democracy: Expanding Voter Registration in Cities and Counties
- The Fight for Voting Rights: How the Past Informs the Current Discriminatory Landscape
- Sko Vote Den Podcast, a mini-series about voting in NDN Country. (Also see NDN Collective’s overview of the podcast and the challenges Indigenous people face)
- Show Your Support for Native Voting Rights: A Social Media Toolkit
- This Is Not A Drill: The Fight For Voting Rights